Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has said the forthcoming strike by junior doctors is both "perplexing and disappointing".
Speaking to Good Morning Britain on Thursday, he said: "It's devastating news for many people. It's going to cause a lot of misery for a lot of people.
"Our one promise was that we wanted a proper seven-day service, so [people] can be confident no matter what day of the week they're admitted to hospital, they're going to get the same high quality care.
"We have an honest difference of opinion with them about how to deliver that seven-day service, but the way to resolve that difference is to sit around the table and talk.
"It's cooperation and dialogue, not confrontation and strikes... I thought we were making progress, and that's why I find it so perplexing and disappointing to see that we're going to have to deal with this huge strike."
The medical regulator has urged junior doctors to seriously consider whether or not to take part in a new wave of strikes.
A five-day strike by junior doctors has been called in the ongoing dispute over contracts, but what does it mean for patients?